Bali, Nusa Tenggara encouraged to up development to curb poverty
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for improvement of economic empowerment programs, specifically in Bali, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), with intentions of reducing poverty rates in the regions.
He raised the issue when opening a coordinating meeting held to evaluate the MP3EI program in Mataram, NTB, on Friday.
The MP3EI economic development program is a government endeavor that is expected to trigger growth in Indonesia and, in the long run, make the country one of the top five global economies by 2025.
“Economic development through the MP3EI program, if successful, will certainly have a positive impact on the reduction of poverty. The program calls for commitment to addressing poverty at the regional level, as well as support of the national program,” he said.
The MP3EI program mainly focuses on infrastructure development in six corridors spread across the archipelago. The six corridors are Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali–Nusa Tenggara and Papua–Maluku.
Under the MP3EI program, Bali and Nusa Tenggara fall into Corridor V.
Yudhoyono pointed out the need to evaluate what the administrations had done in Corridor V, particularly on issues of economic development, poverty and refugees.
NTT is currently home to refugees from East Timor, once an Indonesian province before becoming an independent state in 1999 and changing its name to Timor Leste.
Yudhoyono mentioned NTT as one of the provinces in East Indonesia with an exceptionally high rate of poverty, although at the same time he also reminded NTB and Bali to address the same issues very
“We need to evaluate the projects that require synergy with the central government and neighboring provinces. Interconnectivity enables requests for the specific support they need from the central government or their neighbors,” he said.
Yudhoyono’s visit came as a reminder for the NTB administration to work harder on poverty alleviation given the number of malnutrition cases that reportedly were still plaguing the province.
Malnutrition remains a serious problem, despite claims by the administration that it already has an ideal number of integrated health service posts (Posyandu) for children. More than a thousand malnutrition cases were reported last year, with 32 individuals failing to survive.
The provincial general hospital reported that it treated 14 patients suffering from acute malnutrition over the past two months, four of whom died.
“Apart from malnutrition, they also suffered from congenital diseases, including heart problems and respiratory infections,” Yuni, a nurse at the hospital’s Dahlia pediatric ward, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Hospital director Lalu Ahmadi Jaya said that RSUP NTB had regularly been receiving malnutrition patients from regency and municipal hospitals across the province.
Taufiq Hari Suryanto of the agency’s community health supervision division said that the highest instances of malnutrition were found in East Lombok, with 81 cases, followed by West Lombok with 61 cases.
The cases were said to be not always rooted in poverty, but were sometimes triggered by poor parenting patterns and lack of awareness among people who regularly take their children to the Posyandu for health monitoring.
The province claims to have an ideal number of posyandu, based on the World Health Organization’s guidelines, which say a posyandu ideally serves 100 toddlers. NTB, with some 600,000 toddlers, currently has 6,100 posyandus.
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